Effects of repeated attachment security priming in outpatients with primary depressive disorders

Katherine B Carnelley, Mona-Marie Bejinaru, Lorna Otway, David S Baldwin, Angela Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
318 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The aim of this study was to assess the potential effectiveness of secure attachment priming in outpatients with depressive disorders. Methods: Forty-eight participants engaged in secure attachment priming or neutral priming in the laboratory (Time 1), after which they received three daily consecutive primes via text message (Times 2–4), aimed at maintaining the effects from Time 1. A follow-up one day later (Time 5) was also included. Dependent measures were assessed at Times 1, 4 and 5. Results: Participants in the secure attachment priming condition experienced higher felt-security than the control group at all time-points, indicating that the felt-security benefit was maintained through repeated priming. Secure priming had a greater impact on reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in comparison to the control prime, though the differences were only significant at Time 4. Limitations: The moderate sample size limited our statistical power. Conclusions: This study was the first experiment using repeated secure attachment priming within a clinical sample. Our findings have potential clinical implications; security priming could be used alongside other treatments to improve outcome. Recommendations for further research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date21 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Social Cognition


  • Anxiety
  • Attachment
  • Depression
  • Priming
  • Security priming


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